/Tennis: Ruthless Serena makes strong start in Melbourne return

Tennis: Ruthless Serena makes strong start in Melbourne return


Tennis – Australian Open – First Round – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, January 15, 2019. Serena Williams of the U.S. in action during the match against Germany’s Tatjana Maria. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Serena Williams made a ruthless start to her quest for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title with a 6-0 6-2 victory over unseeded German Tatjana Maria in the first round of the Australian Open on Tuesday.

The seven-time Australian Open champion was pregnant when she won the last of her 23 Grand Slam titles at Melbourne Park and showed she has lost none of her brutal power and athleticism in the match between the two mothers at Rod Laver Arena.

The 37-year-old Williams, playing her first Grand Slam since her rant against the umpire at last year’s U.S. Open final, lost only 24 points against Maria.

Williams finished the match in just 49 minutes on her second match point when Maria, who is also her neighbour, sent a backhand wide and the American will next play the winner of the match between Peng Shuai and Eugenie Bouchard.

Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Greg Stutchbury

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